The fourth largest city in Slovenia is referred to as the capital of the Julian Alps, located at the foothills of the beautiful mountain Mt Storžič. Just thirty minutes from the capital city Ljubljana this city charms with its old town and spectacular gorge. The 30-meter-deep Kokra River gorge just under the old town is unique and offers a refreshing green walk through the gorge. An artistic paradise with intricate architecture, antique stores, galleries, local fashion designers, and artesian stores make this city a must-visit Slovenian destination.
The old town is a historic gift, beautiful architecture, charming shops, and boutiques line the streets along with restaurants and cafes whose tables cover the pedestrian walkways.
Although the old town is rather small, there are three beautiful, architecturally, and culturally significant churches located there. The church of Saint Sebastian, Fabian, and Roch at Pungart has a fun cafe on the outside of it, just 10 feet from the cafe is a viewpoint made of glass and steel overlooking the gorge. St. Cancian’s church was built at the beginning of the 15th century, and it is the most distinctive building in the townscape of Kranj. It is one of the most important monuments of Gothic architecture in Slovenia. The third church in the old town is dedicated to Saint Mary of the Rosary. The church was built in the first decade of the 16th century and later belonged to the Protestant community. Next to it, Jože Plečnik, Slovenia’s most notable and internationally acclaimed architect, designed a monumental entrance to the town with a staircase, arches, and a fountain.
The Khislstein castle is part of the former town wall. The ambiance of this picturesque castle is wonderful for concert performances with the open stage theatre set in the patio garden. The castle also houses the Gorenjska Museum, which has many interesting stories to tell about the 6000-year history of Kranj.
Kranj is suitable for all interests. Hiking, mountain climbing, winter sports, cycling, and fishing are all prevalent in the area. There are many lovely and fun destinations nearby that offer a respite, no matter your preference – you can explore them on foot, by bike, by public transportation or by car. Hikers will enjoy Šmarjetna Mountain or St. Lawrence under Storžič Mountain, cyclists can take the trails to Preddvor or Škofja Loka, and skiing or snowboarding enthusiasts can enjoy the nearby Krvavec Ski Resort. Kranj is a great starting point for exploring the whole region. If an active vacation is not your style and a walk through the town is more your speed, there is a lovely pedestrian area lined with artisan shops. Exit the main gate of the city to find the walkway through the gorge and the tunnels that go under the center city. There are many hidden gems in the city to keep you pleasantly occupied for days in every season.
One of them is undeniably the hidden tunnels that run under the historic town center. They were built during WW2 as shelters for the people of Kranj, but now you can take a guided tour and explore the underbelly of Kranj. They also house two permanent exhibits, the first about its’ builders and life in Kranj during WW2, and the second about minerals and fossils, found in this city built between two rivers on a conglomerate rock.
If dining is also something you wish to explore on your Slovenian getaway, we have a great suggestion right in the city’s center. Gostilna Kot has incredible mashed potatoes, they are chunky and flavorful. The alcove of the restaurant is quaint next to a cafe, across from an antique store and right next to a winery, but the food takes the attention with great prices and sizable portions. We were fully satisfied by the famous Kranj sausage and the Kranjsko Pivo the city’s own beer. We finished our meal with the local strudel, the štruklji which is baked and filled with a choice of walnuts, plain cheese, or topped with forest fruits. We found the forest fruits option to be the most delicious.
The city rests in front of Mt Storžič which is 2132 meters, 6994 feet high enabling many of the houses in the city to enjoy a spectacular view of the mountain. We stayed in Hotel Actum a Royales Royce Museum of a hotel with art and pieces of cars decorating the walls and halls. The theme makes the hotel a cool visit even if you won’t be staying here. We found they were the only hotel to be dog friendly in the city center.
Kranj is a great visit outside of Ljubljana and only a short distance from other Slovenian gems. Subscribe for more Slovenian travels, have a lovely day.